Security Will be Hot on Western European Small and Medium Businesses' Agendas for 2005, Says IDC

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Of all solution areas, security and collaborative solutions are currently
the most adopted among SMBs, according to a recent
study by IDC. Supply chain management remains the least adopted. The
adoption of security technologies is high in every single industry while
collaborative technologies such as workgroup, email, unified messaging, and
virtual private networks show high levels of adoption in the business
services sector.

Almost 50% of SMBs have already adopted enterprise resource planning (ERP)
and back-office applications, with at least two applications integrated.
Manufacturing and business services are the leading sectors for ERP
adoption. Discrete manufacturing has caught up in the adoption of
integrated back-office systems in the past few years and a high number of
manufacturers now rely on an integrated back-office system.

"For 2005, security, industry-specific solutions, and content/document
management emerge as the three most relevant priorities among SMBs.
Security remains the top priority. This, coupled with the fact that
security is already the most adopted solution, highlights SMBs' concerns
regarding security issues," said Laura Converso, senior research analyst
with IDC's European Small and Medium Business service.
SMBs' plans to invest in industry-specific solutions are significant in
some verticals: more than 50% of insurance/other finance, discrete
manufacturing, and transport/telecom/media/utilities SMBs are expected to
invest more or the same amount in 2005 as in 2004. By size, the low end of
the medium segment (100-249 employees) expects to invest strongly in
industry-specific applications during 2005.

In the case of content/document management solutions, banking,
insurance/other finance, and government investment plans for 2005 stand out
compared to other vertical markets. Also, SMBs with between 100 and 249
employees show the highest rate of plans for investment.

As SMBs become increasingly important for IT vendors, analyzing their
priorities and current and future investment plans becomes critical. In
order to identify these, during 2005 IDC carried out an end-user survey in
the top 5 Western European countries (France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., and
Spain), among 728 small and medium companies (20-499 employees).

IDC's study Mapping Solution Priorities in Western European SMBs (Doc
#MM02M, June 2005) analyzes IT spending trends among Western European
companies for the period 2004-2009, with a focus on the following company
size segments: small businesses (1-99 employees), medium businesses
(100-499 employees), low-end large businesses (500-999 employees), and
upper-end large businesses (1,000+ employees).

The study analyzes SMBs' IT spending directions, solution priorities, level
of adoption of Web interfaces, and future investment plans. Solution areas
such as ERP, CRM, industry-specific applications, supply chain
applications, collaborative tools, and content/document management are
analyzed by vertical market (banking, insurance and other finance, discrete
manufacturing, process manufacturing, healthcare services,
transport/telecommunications/media/utilities, retail and wholesale,
business services, education, and government).

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